Oh Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is the game that tried, but didn’t quite make it on a lot of fronts. While the multiplayer is absolutely solid, the single player campaign which should be the heart of any Bioware title is lacking in so many ways. Yes, the facial animations are awful, the body animations are also terrible: I watched a lab tech spin in circles with his head facing the ceiling, going round and round like a dog chasing his tail as I talked to another tech for a solid three minutes, glitches abound with environment items appearing only with your scanner on, every point of interest is labelled orange making it difficult to determine what is actually happening, and now this.
Bioware has allowed you to be gay in most of it’s games since 2007, the original Mass Effect featured Liara T’soni, an Asari scientist who could be romanced by either male or female Commander Shepards. But Andromeda‘s gay male romance is not what many fans had hoped.
Since it was released, Andromeda has been heavily criticized for how it handles gay romance, particularly for male characters. You can find the complaints everywhere: neoGAF, Reddit, unofficial BioWare forums, Twitter, Tumblr, Kotaku, basically any form of social platform will have people complaining about the handling of gay romance, especially Scott Ryder’s lack of partners.
Not only does Scott Ryder only have two options for some man-love, those relationships are not treated with the same attention to detail, depth, sensitivity, and gametime as every other relationship option. Sarah Ryder can romance more women than Scott can men, and that’s just a bit weird. Especially because Scott Ryder can romance a ton of women. It’s almost like they were trying to say “well, sure, we guess you can be a gay Scott, but why bother?”
The two options for male Ryders are Reyes Vidal, who only appears in a couple of quests and Gil Brodie, who is not actually a squadmate. Sure, you’ve been able to romance non-squadmates in ME before, but they weren’t usually half of your options. And people are right to complain.
And this is not even getting into the whole Shepard’s gender option deal, which is its own can of worms. For a company that has helped pave the way for LGBT+ inclusion in video games, this is a major disappointment. Sure, you can take the usual “SJWs are just complaining you can’t romance Jaal” route, or even the more charged “shut up” path, but the fact remains that Mass Effect: Andromeda has taken the progress Bioware seemed to be working toward with the inclusion of their first exclusively gay character in Dragon Age: Inquisition and thrown it all in the trash.
You really do have to wonder, what on Earth were they thinking?
But at least they’ve realized it and taking it “very seriously.” So there may be hope in the (likely distant) future.
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